« AnteriorContinuar »
HANSEL one day took his sister Grettel by the hand, and said, “Since our poor mother died our lives are quite miserable ; for our new mother beats us all day long, and when we go near her, she pushes us away. We have nothing but hard crusts to eat; and the little dog under the table is better off than we; for he often has a nice piece of meat thrown to him. Oh if our poor mother knew how we are used;
Come, we will go and travel over the wide world.” So they set off.
They went the whole day walking over the fields, and meadows, and rocks; and when it rained, Grettel said, “ The heavens are weeping along with us.” In the evening they came to a great wood; and then they were so tired and hungry that they sat down in a hollow tree and fell asleep.
In the morning when they awoke, the sun had risen high above the trees, and shone warm upon the hollow tree. Then Hansel said, “Sister, I am very thirsty; if I could find a brook, I would go and drink. Listen! I think I hear the sound of one.” Then he rose up and took Grettel by the hand and went in search of the brook. But their step-mother was a malicious fairy, and had followed them secretly into the wood and enchanted all the brooks: and when they had found a brook that ran sparkling over the pebbles, Hansel wanted to drink; but Grettel thought she heard a voice from the brook, as it babbled along, saying, “Whoever drinks here will be turned into a tiger.” Then she cried out, “Ah, brother! do not drink, or you will be turned into a wild beast and tear me to pieces.” Then Hansel yielded, although he was parched with thirst. “I will wait,” said he, “for the next brook." But when they came to the next, Grettel listened again, and thought she heard, “Whoever drinks here will become a wolf.” Then she cried out, “ Brother, brother, do not drink, or you will be turned into a wolf and eat me.” So he did not drink, but said, “I will wait for the next brook; there I must
what you will, I am so thirsty." As they came to the third brook, Grettel listened and heard, “Whoever drinks here will become a fawn.” “Ah, brother!"
said she, “ do not drink, or you will be turned into a fawn and run away from me.” But Hansel had already stooped down to the brook, and the first drop he tasted, he was turned into a fawn.
Grettel wept bitterly over her poor enchanted brother, and the tears, too, rolled down his eyes as he laid himself so sorrowfully down beside her. Then she said, “Rest in peace, dear fawn, I will never, never leave thee.” So she untied her golden necklace and put it round his neck, and plucked some rushes and plaited them into a soft band, with which she led the poor little thing by her side farther into the wood.
After they had travelled a very long way, they came to a little cottage ; and Grettel having looked in and seen that it was quite empty, thought to herself, “We can stay and live here.” Then she went and gathered leaves and moss to make a soft bed for the fawn: and every morning she went out and plucked nuts, roots, and berries for herself, and sweet shrubs and tender grass for the fawn; and it ate out of her hand, and was pleased, and played and frisked about her. In the evening, when Grettel was tired, and had said her prayers, she laid her head upon the fawn for a pillow, and slept: and if poor Hansel could but have had his right form again, their life would have been a very happy one.
They lived thus for some time in the wood by themselves, till it chanced that the king of that country came to hold a great hunt in the forest. And when the fawn heard all around the echoing of the horns, and the baying of the dogs, and the merry shouts of the huntsmen, he was all anxiety to go and join in the sport. “Ah, sister! sister!" said he, “let